Monday, May 09, 2011
wheelchair friendly Open Stage of Harrisburg
While applause is traditionally reserved for performers, here I must applaud a theatre itself! Living with Multiple Sclerosis as a family will do that to you because accessibility is more than a concept.
The Angino Family Theatre / Open Stage of Harrisburg “had me at hello”, as a caregiver, when wheelchair seating easily displayed on their on-line ticketing screen. Upon arriving, when they removed the seat so Patti’s chair could just roll into the spot eliminating transfers they earned my highest label, “wheelchair welcoming”.
We chose to celebrate Mother’s Day by attending “August:
”. What could be better than spending Mother’s Day with a “matriarch who careens back and forth between incoherency and sharp-tongued, foul-mouthed lucidity?” Theater review Osage County August Osage County
MS symptoms of dysarthia and Pseudobulbar affect which can cause Patti to abruptly and unintentionally interact with movie theatre dialogue had never been tested in live theatre. through MS 'symptom D' glasses
Plus Patti has evolved through MS changes into somewhat a practitioner of “foul mouthed lucidity” herself. cursing and swearing and Multiple Sclerosis, oh my!
Front row wheelchair seating was in such proximity visual impairment was erased, actors often performed within an arms reach, and referring to cigarettes as ‘ciggies’ (Patti’s favorite phrase) in the dialogue may as well have been an invitation.
Shhhing Patti never works, best to just try and ‘reboot’ her with a touch redirecting her attention momentarily. I cannot even remember how many touch prompts it took to nip Patti’s inter-acting debut in the bud.
The play rocked, like riding a rollercoaster of dramatic and hilarious ups, downs, corkscrews, and loops. Minus the physical barriers it was all the more thrilling. Minus Patti’s cognitive barriers it was a whole new dimension. By the third act there I was with my hand poised above Patti’s arm and our daughter behind Patti with her hands poised above Patti’s shoulders, as if we were all reveling in the play while trying to keep her from periodically jumping into the play. J
No, it was not a Hallmark Mother’s Day moment, it was better.
Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer
web site: caregivinglyyours.com
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